2 weeks prior to the district attorney elections in Charlottesville, police kidnapped a well known critic of police, defense attorney Jeff Fogel in the middle of the night. Fogel, one of the city’s leading defense attorneys, was already on a first name basis with the city’s top cops and established a career as a civil rights attorney. On that night, Fogel ended up on the other side of the law as they showed up to his home in the middle of the night.
According to the Intercept:
The officers wouldn’t allow Fogel to get his keys or get dressed. Minutes later, as he sat in the back seat of a police car, Fogel realized that throughout his 48-year career as a civil rights attorney, he never understood how much it hurt to be handcuffed. He also realized the arrest would have reverberations. It was early June, and in less than two weeks, voters in Charlottesville would go to the polls to decide on the city’s next district attorney, with one of the candidates vowing to rein in police abuse and roll back mass incarceration. That candidate was now bound for the police station.
Two months later the city of Charlottesville descended into chaos as white nationalists converged on the city in the largest demonstration by the group in a decade. White terrorists chanted “Jews will not replace us” while carrying tiki torches emboldened by the support of their celebrity-in-chief.
Police deny being told to “stand down” however video after video after video clearly show local law enforcement not getting involved in the fracas until the nationalists were under attack. Officers stood passive as counter protester after counter protester fell under attack by the supremacists. In a video obtained by the New York Times, police did nothing even after a white supremacist fired a gun in the direction of a black man.
The fallout in Charlottesville sparked a nationwide look at racist police confirming an FBI report that white supremacists had infiltrated law enforcement. Despite this knowledge, this is the same agency that has labeled those who identify with their “Blackness” as extremists and are currently a threat to American Social Order over “perceived” violence against Blacks by police.
Two days after Charlottesville, a New Mexico police union president shared his thoughts on protesters by sharing a meme of protesters being ran over. The very same thing that happened in Charlottesville killing a counter protester. Another police union head out of Pennsylvania in September called BLM protesters “a pack of rabid animals” while reportedly defending a Nazi tat-bearing cop.
Fogel, well aware of the bias of police, decided to fight back. In 2007 he moved to Charlottesville and set up a private practice fighting false arrests, excessive force and a number of other abuse cases by police.
One well known case he argued and won was the case of a Black man who was arrested by police for saying “fuck you”. The judge threw the case out because cursing out police is still protected under free speech. Fogel assisted the Black man in suing the city and the department for damages. The city settled.
The Intercept also wrote:
Fogel has also been an outspoken critic of the city’s stop-and-frisk system. Throughout the years, he told me, the department’s data has shown that around 70 to 80 percent of the people stopped were black, even though the population of Charlottesville is only 20 percent black.
“So I went to the [city] council,” he told me, “and I said listen, I think the program is terrific. The only thing we have to do is shift it from focusing on black people to focusing on white people. You’ll catch a lot of people.”
In 2015, Fogel filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit on behalf of the NAACP and the Charlottesville Public Housing Association of Residents, or PHAR, seeking documentation for the reasons of the stops. The city fought to exempt their release as “criminal investigative material,” and Fogel lost.
Fogel was serious about reforming police and ran on a platform of reigning in deranged police and rolling back mass incarceration. He promised to fight against mandatory minimum sentences, reduce felony prosecutions, and review and revamp the department’s stop-and-frisk policies.
Such a threat to the status quo, Fogel wanted to stop prosecution of possession of marijuana further pissing off pro-police and bigots. He even ruffled the feathers of local radio host, Joe Thomas, who interviewed Fogel and later on ran a 26 minute segment called “Roll Me A Fogel” to the tunes of Afroman’s “Because I Got High”.